By Julia Williams
Years ago, a kind-hearted pet lover had a dream. Where some might hope to strike it rich or “make it big,” Larry Chusid’s dream was more altruistic – he wanted to help the needy feed their pets. He wanted to make a difference in their lives by helping them keep the animals they dearly loved.
In November of 2009, Larry’s dream became a reality when The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank opened in Portland, Oregon. I’ve written about it here before, because were it not for CANIDAE and their initial $125,000 donation of pet food, Larry might still be in dreaming mode. But he isn’t, and it warms my heart to know that many, many people and their pets have benefitted because one man dared to dream, and a caring company generously gave what was needed to get this pet food bank going.
As often happens in life, seemingly chance events are life-changing moments. So it was with Larry when he met some CANIDAE folks at a pet-product trade show. The decision CANIDAE made to support The Pongo Fund has greatly impacted not only Larry’s life, but countless thousands of people and pets in their time of need. Now, just two years later, The Pongo Fund partners with more than 100 emergency food agencies, shelters and rescues in Oregon and SW Washington. By providing pet food to anyone with an honest need, Pongo succeeds in both reducing shelter populations and keeping people and their pets together.
I recently caught up with Larry to ask how things have been going.
Me: How many pounds of pet food have been distributed since opening day?
Larry: We focus on individual quality meals, because each meal is a lifeline. In total we’ve provided more than 2,500,000 quality meals for approximately 42,000 animals belonging to nearly 19,000 families.
CANIDAE has been our primary partner since Day One. We could not do what we do without their consistent generosity and support. Our relationship goes well beyond simply donating food. They are our partner in the fight against hunger.